When it comes to petting a dog, it's essential to use the right technique to ensure maximum calmness and comfort. Using your fingers and the palm of your hand, delicately yet firmly stroke your pup's entire body from head to tail. Make sure you focus all your attention and energy on the layers of fur, skin, muscles, and bones. Most dogs feel comfortable being caressed on the chest, shoulders, and base of the neck.
Rather than moving your hand over the top of the dog's head, stretch your hand from the side. Each canine has its own favorite spots for petting; common areas include the base of the tail, under the chin, or on the back of the neck near the collar. Avoid petting on top of the head, muzzle, ears, legs, and tail. Slow stroking, similar to a gentle massage or light scratching, can help to relax a dog.
Place your hand in an area where the dog likes to be touched and move your hand or fingers in the same direction as the fur. Petting should be calming and therapeutic for both you and your pup; when you pet a dog in a relaxed, slow, and gentle way, they'll likely lean in for more. Stick to petting their shoulder area instead of going down their back. Dogs are powerful animals and their shoulders do a lot of work to get them moving; a good massage is sure to be appreciated! When you're done petting your pup, they may lean into you or actively seek contact with you.
To ensure maximum calmness when petting a dog, there are certain tactics you should avoid and others you should employ. Certain petting styles can cause most dogs to run away while others will make them wag their tails with joy.